Diablo Range herpin'

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Owen
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Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 8th, 2011, 6:34 pm

Since there’s a scheduled survey for the east side of Mt. Hamilton, I thought I would use that as an opportunity to post some herps from the Santa Clara County part of The Diablo Range seen so far this year. I’m at 24 species, but a couple glaring misses may be due to the cooler weather or near lacking of any flipable AC (Aspidoscelis tigris munda and Coluber lateralis lateralis). Since I’ve only been on the eastern side of Hamilton once, there could have been a few more added.

Here’s the pix:

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Ambystoma californiense

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Taricha torosa torosa

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Ensatina eschscholtzi xanthopicta

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Aneides lugubris

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Batrachoseps attenuatus

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Anaxyrus boreas halophilus

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Pseudacris sierra

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Rana draytonii

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Rana boylii; missed the shot… underwater frog quicker than contrast challenged autofocus, but here’s a chance to show the habitat (Frog was in 4-5” of water above the spill).

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Lithobates catesbeianus

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Actinemys marmorata

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Trachemys scripta elegans

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Sceloporus occidentalis bocourtii

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Plestiodon skiltonianus skiltonianus

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Elgaria multicarinata multicarinata

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Coluber constrictor mormon

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Lampropeltis getula californiae

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Pituophis catenifer catenifer

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Diadophis punctatus amabilis

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Contia tenuis

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Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis

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Thamnophis elegans terrestris

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Thamnophis atratus zaxanthus

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Crotalus oreganus oreganus

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herper79
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by herper79 » May 8th, 2011, 7:16 pm

Owen,
Awesome pics and good assortment of herps! I am sure we will cross paths in the field one of these days lol.
Nick

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Zach_Lim » May 8th, 2011, 7:41 pm

Amazing finds! I have been slowly breaking out of my San Mateo county spots and venturing into Santa Clara. Still have no idea where to herp, but looks like that area is full of awesome stuff!

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Owen
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 8th, 2011, 9:09 pm

I love the Mt. Hamilton area. I need to get down around Coe or even further south around Pacheco to see what's there. I would love to find a C. f. ruddocki within the county, but I'm thinking it's probably about 5 miles out of it's range.

I've been to the west side of the county only 4 times this year, so I'm lacking in stuff found there. I notice that the lighter color CA Kings tend to come from west foothills. I never cared for the looks of the light SoCal ones, but this NorCal one had some nice crisp whites, so not so ugly in my book:

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I've still never seen a boa in the county and I've been hiking the hills since the early 70's, but then, all the ones that I see posted are flipped from under AC (boards) and I rarely see any AC at all.

Nick, I've seen some of your NAHERP records and you're seeing some different stuff than I do. Last nightsnake I found was 1977.

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by SurfinHerp » May 8th, 2011, 10:35 pm

Wow Owen, your photos are consistently awesome! You ought to consider publishing them in a field guide or coffee-table book or something.
I love the species diversity and the range of colors - especially the different shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Oh yeah, I have to say the fork-tailed bluebelly is great. Showed it to my two boys and they want one now!

Looking forward to your next post....

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Porter » May 9th, 2011, 12:07 am

Great FN pics man! That sharptail shot with the tongue curled has got to be the best I've seen of that species. Newt, Skilton, and YBR are also a few of my favs... nice job :thumb:

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » May 9th, 2011, 2:17 am

Bravo! Great photos!

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Fundad » May 9th, 2011, 6:03 am

I agree the photos are stunning..

Love the gators and newt together, as found, my kind of photo...

And the Cal kings are nice..

Fundad

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by LocalityRosys » May 9th, 2011, 6:25 am

Great post with amazing pic's.........thanks for sharing.

Jer

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Kent VanSooy » May 9th, 2011, 7:11 am

Nice! That arboreal salamander looks absolutely menacing!

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Owen
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 9th, 2011, 12:58 pm

Kent VanSooy wrote:Nice! That arboreal salamander looks absolutely menacing!
It was definitely on steroids, but I've never had one attempt to bite:

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Fundad » May 9th, 2011, 3:13 pm

Nice! That arboreal salamander looks absolutely menacing!
They remind me of the really old dinosaurs. It's a good thing they aren't 15 or 20 feet long.. :shock: :shock:

Cool Photos Owen..

I love arboreals, and have been working on finding more down this way (much harder in so cal)

Fundad

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by yolodave » May 9th, 2011, 6:18 pm

Absolutely, Arboreals look prehistoric.

I was always fascinated by Erymops, 200 pounds and 6 feet of pure gummy terror from the Permian:

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Dave

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by todd battey » May 9th, 2011, 7:28 pm

Some great shots in this batch. My favorites included the CA Tiger lolling in the shallows, the gartersnakes, and the Arboreal with the freakishly large jaw muscles. Thanks for sharing the great pix.

Todd

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Owen
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 9th, 2011, 7:49 pm

Dave, I always liked Eryops as well. Seems like they had similar teeth!

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Aaron » May 9th, 2011, 10:36 pm

Nice pics, nice variety. Can you tell me anything about the situation with the Red-Eared Sliders? Are they competeing with the native Pond Turtles? Do they hybridize? That would be terrible.

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by HerperBrewer » May 10th, 2011, 8:59 am

This is all great stuff - I love the two tailed Scelops!

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by sauceman » May 10th, 2011, 11:06 am

Great stuff, really awesome images.

I have lived in Santa Clara County most of my life and you point out something that I am constantly noticing... very little AC in SC County. It's odd, but it seems almost impossible to find any AC around here and, in other counties, I tend to stumble into it.

I have found a few Hypsiglena in Santa Clara County, including one last year. All that I have found were in the southern part of the county, from south San Jose down to Coe.

Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 10th, 2011, 1:09 pm

Aaron wrote:Nice pics, nice variety. Can you tell me anything about the situation with the Red-Eared Sliders? Are they competeing with the native Pond Turtles? Do they hybridize? That would be terrible.
I'll sometimes see 20 RES and 1 or 2 WPT basking together. The RES definately out breed the WPT and grow much bigger and much faster. I'm still seeing both in lakes and ponds, but the WPT are the only ones that I see in streams:

Image

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by RenoBart » May 10th, 2011, 3:49 pm

The yellow-bellied racer pic is tops. Bravo on that one, very, very sharp, vivid and gorgeous.

New bg on my PC for a few weeks!!

:thumb: Bart

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Owen
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 10th, 2011, 4:22 pm

RenoBart wrote:The yellow-bellied racer pic is tops. Bravo on that one, very, very sharp, vivid and gorgeous.

New bg on my PC for a few weeks!!

:thumb: Bart
When it's 46 degrees, they're easy to photograph. Pick them up in their coil and they don't break. Here's a closer one of the same snake:

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Fundad
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Fundad » May 10th, 2011, 5:24 pm

Yeah Dave,

Thats pretty much how I picture them.. :shock: :shock: That would keep me out of the woods, thats for sure..

YIKES :shock:

:lol:
Fundad

Great picture thanks for sharing..

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Schell » May 15th, 2011, 9:53 am

Nice shots and great variety Owen. Is that the confirmation on your R. draytonii from that spot?

Cheers,

Rob

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by devlin » May 15th, 2011, 11:58 am

I love this post! Beautiful photos. I've been trying to herp down that way with John (sauceman) for a couple years now. I'm in the north bay, so I dont make it that far very often...Gonna have to change that!
Been diggin your avatar for a while too! What are they? Gopher snake- Red-tailed hawk?...Cool pic.

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 15th, 2011, 1:51 pm

Schell wrote:Nice shots and great variety Owen. Is that the confirmation on your R. draytonii from that spot?

Cheers,

Rob
Nope. So far, I've seen 3... wide spaced and not in cow ponds.

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Owen
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 15th, 2011, 1:52 pm

devlin wrote:I love this post! Beautiful photos. I've been trying to herp down that way with John (sauceman) for a couple years now. I'm in the north bay, so I dont make it that far very often...Gonna have to change that!
Been diggin your avatar for a while too! What are they? Gopher snake- Red-tailed hawk?...Cool pic.
Yep, young RTH with PGS.

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by hellihooks » May 15th, 2011, 2:08 pm

I had a RTH swoop down and grab a 20" (?) helli I was walking up to, to take a pic. I was like 35-40 yrds away... and was so flabbergasted... I didn't get a shot... too busy chasing it and throwing rocks... :roll: Thought it sucked, at the time... but looking back on it... it was kinda cool... :) jim

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by yolodave » May 15th, 2011, 8:14 pm

Uh yeah, like Bomb Sauce level Cool!

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by hellihooks » May 19th, 2011, 5:42 am

any word on when? trying to plan my next several weekends, and a Nor-cal trip takes some planning... :beer: jim

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by SamS » May 19th, 2011, 7:19 pm

I'm in awe of your photography.

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Owen
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 20th, 2011, 7:24 am

hellihooks wrote:any word on when? trying to plan my next several weekends, and a Nor-cal trip takes some planning... :beer: jim
Not heard anything from Dave yet. I vouchered 13 redsided when I went up locally on Sunday. All visual encounters and all in less than an hour. Nice to see 3 big fat ones within 10 feet of each other :D

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by monklet » May 20th, 2011, 8:15 am

Flamin' awesome! :shock: 8-) :) :thumb:

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Calfirecap » May 20th, 2011, 8:59 pm

Outstanding photos and great finds. Most certainly worthy of publishing. Thaks for posting.

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by yolodave » May 20th, 2011, 10:52 pm

Regarding the herp survey, sorry but personal schedules and other commitments are pushing this back to June 11 or 12.

I'm inclined to go with June 11th. Considering the rain we've had, any thoughts?


Dave

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Owen
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 21st, 2011, 8:42 pm

The 11th could work. I like Saturday better than Sunday. I don't think you'll want to go too much further out since the intermitent streams could start drying up.

Mt. Hamilton Gopher... ~2200 ft

Image

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » May 21st, 2011, 9:17 pm

Owen wrote:Mt. Hamilton Gopher... ~2200 ft
I wonder what a snake this size eats? :lol:

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 21st, 2011, 9:38 pm

Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:
Owen wrote:Mt. Hamilton Gopher... ~2200 ft
I wonder what a snake this size eats? :lol:
Brachiosaurs ;)

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yolodave
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by yolodave » May 25th, 2011, 10:55 pm

The survey in the Mount Hamilton area has been rescheduled for June 11th.

Send me an email and details will go your way. Thanks!

Dave


[email protected]

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by hellihooks » May 26th, 2011, 6:29 pm

Oh well... I'll be up there this weekend (760)680-6854.... anybody??? :D jim

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by liucommajames » May 29th, 2011, 11:45 pm

Glad to see you finally got photos of the CA tigers. great post, hope to see you around the mountains more when I move back north.

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » May 30th, 2011, 10:59 am

liucommajames wrote:Glad to see you finally got photos of the CA tigers. great post, hope to see you around the mountains more when I move back north.
Yeah James, same area, but different spots. One at 2200 ft+ and one just over 1500 ft. Saw 5 live adults. The pictured was the only visual encounter... the other 4 were all flipped.

Still debating these tadpoles... both were found in a small pool in a creek where I saw an adult R. draytonii:

Image

Image

I tend to think Red-legged more than tree (chorus) frog only because Pseudacris tend to have a larger more transparent tail fin, but rhat does start to recede as they transform. Size is about 2".

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by hellihooks » June 2nd, 2011, 6:12 am

The Pseudacris Tads I see down here are generally 1" MAX Down here 2"+ is bullfrog... :x :thumb: jim

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Owen » June 2nd, 2011, 2:10 pm

hellihooks wrote:The Pseudacris Tads I see down here are generally 1" MAX Down here 2"+ is bullfrog... :x :thumb: jim
Up here, Pseudacris tads are about 1-1/2" to 2" and Bullfrogs 5-6". I'll check the spot again in a week to see what's transformed. I guess we have too much water ;) , maybe we should send some south.

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Kookamongus » October 28th, 2018, 10:26 pm

Ok I know im several years late but... Racer and arboreal shots are so awesome

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » October 29th, 2018, 8:01 pm

Owen,
In around 2000, I examined all vouchered Rubber Boas from the major institutions in Calif. Just from memory, I believe there was one vouchered Rubber Boa in either the CAS or MVZ collections.

A number of years ago, a herper on this forum either in a post or more like in a private message indicate he observed a boa on one of the Mt. Hamilton roads but his motor cycle was acting up and he said he dared not stop for fear it would quit again on him.

Should you or anyone else come across a Rubber Boa on Mt. Hamilton nearby hills, please consider retaining the snake and shipping to me so some data can finally be recorded on that population. I would reimburse shipping costs and return the snake once the data has been recorded and a small sample of tissue taken.

Richard F. Hoyer Corvallis, Oregon

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Fieldherper » October 30th, 2018, 11:29 am

Richard,

I spent a fair amount of time in the Diablo range in the late 90s and early 2000s and found zonata and many other snakes, but never encountered boa. I always thought they could/should be there. I have heard anecdotal reports of them there. They are of course, very common on the other side of the valley in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Despite being close to the Santa Cruz mountains, the Diablo range is a more harsh environment and gets very hot and dry in the Summer while getting less rainfall in the Winter months. It also does not benefit nearly as much from the coastal fog. Boas would have to find little pockets in which to survive.

FH

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Jimi » October 30th, 2018, 1:26 pm

Despite being close to the Santa Cruz mountains, the Diablo range is a more harsh environment and gets very hot and dry in the Summer while getting less rainfall in the Winter months. It also does not benefit nearly as much from the coastal fog. Boas would have to find little pockets in which to survive.
You'd be positively horrified at the hellholes boas inhabit east of the Sierra/Cascade crest. Ha ha ha. You could call it the sagebrush boa. They aren't overrunning the place by any means, but they get by. They're still here, after what I presume was a period of eastward range expansion coinciding maybe with a cooler wetter time (???)

I wonder how much of the rangewide ecological amplitude the species displays, is genetically & behaviorally present & expressible in any one location or small region like the Bay Area.

Richard - if you know - how do the life history data compare for west-side and east-side boas? Age at first reproduction, litter size, litter frequency etc? Lifespan perhaps?

cheers

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Jeff
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Jeff » October 30th, 2018, 3:00 pm

The vouchered specimen in the CAS was picked up by a friend of mine, Bill Hutchins, on a road on a steep, east-facing slope that was heavily wooded.

The ranger at one of the nearby state parks (HWC) found a rubber boa in the head of a steep ravine back in the late 70s, a little below the ponderosa pine zone.

That's all I have to report from my 22 years there.

Jeff

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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » October 31st, 2018, 9:54 am

That should have been, ‘one vouchered Rubber Boa from Mt. Hamilton’ in the collections I examined.
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Fieldherper,
I only visited the Mt. Hamilton area once when my father took me trout fishing along some creek in the Mt. Hamilton region. It was in the 1940’s when I was 13 or 14. The only thing I recall is seeing what may have been a striped racer ‘wrestling’ with a small rattlesnake.
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Jimi,
It is my view (guess) the the range of different habitats in which the Rubber Boa occurs equals or exceeds that of other species of snakes. Even some
individuals familiar with the boa are not aware the species occurs in sagebrush / grassland habitats where cactus can occur.

Because maintaining hydration is a major factor for survival, available moisture (humidity?) appears to be all important. So the boa does not occur at low elevations arid habitat but in similar arid habitats at upper elevations that received precipitation in the form of snow during the winter months. I know of two exceptions to that scenario. The east bay area of Calif. is one which likely includes Mt. Hamilton. And the boa population that occurs in the vicinity of Mt. St. Helena where Sonoma, Lake, and Napa Counties come together, is the another exception. But I assume there may be other exceptions as well.

A potentially important factor is that of condensation. At higher elevations that incur cold temperatures at nights during the active season,
condensation can occur in underground burrows which provides elevated humidity and condensed moisture on underground surface objects or on the boas skin surface as well. That again represents speculation on my part based on the bits and pieces of information at hand.

As for the questions you ask, I only could provide a decent answer to some of those question on the boa population here in NW Oregon for which I have recorded supporting data. But it is my view (best guess), throughout the species’ distribution, the major parameters that govern the boa’s survival and success are all the same.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jeff, Do you know the elevation at which Mr. Hutchins found that boa? And when are you going to retire and return to Calif. to finish the job of conducting surveys for this and that species of herp?

Richard FH

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Jeff
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Re: Diablo Range herpin'

Post by Jeff » October 31st, 2018, 12:10 pm

Do you know the elevation at which Mr. Hutchins found that boa?
2300-2400 feet
And when are you going to retire and return to Calif. to finish the job of conducting surveys for this and that species of herp?
ASAP, but don't want to dismiss the God-given gift of being a state herpetologist in a diverse place. Also, I'll need to win the lottery - average, mediocre subdivion house in Silicon V is around $1 million.
I only visited the Mt. Hamilton area once when my father took me trout fishing along some creek in the Mt. Hamilton region
Probably Smith Creek, a couple of miles and same habitat as Bill's boa.

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